Healthy Living

Multiple Sclerosis: Researchers Are Recruiting for Genetic Studies

A study to examine the role of gut bacteria

A study to examine the role of gut bacteria

Also from the University of California, San Francisco, come a new research study that seeks to investigate the possible role that gut bacteria may play in MS. The researchers are looking to recruit people who have PPMS or other types of MS to help them conduct their international research study on the role of gut microbiomes in patients with MS. Participants are being asked to visit labs directly in San Francisco or to visit satellite labs located in Pittsburgh, Boston, or New York.

The gut, which includes both the small and the large intestines, is the largest organ in mammals that plays a role in the immune system. It is well known that MS is characterized by attacks that the immune system makes on the central nervous system. With millions of bacteria living in the guts of humans, it makes sense to theorize that the gut bacteria could play a role in the activity of MS patients. While the gut microbiome is generally thought to be harmless in most people, new research points to the potential for gut microbiome to play a pivotal role in the immune attacks of MS in patients.

The National MS Society is supporting the researchers in their attempt to conduct a comprehensive analysis on the gut bacteria that is living in patients with MS. The International MS Microbiome Study is attempting to collect the bio-specimens of blood and stool samples from at least 2,000 individuals with MS and 2,000 individuals without MS (to act as members of the control group). By collecting and analyzing the bio-specimens of the 4,000 participants, the researchers aim to identify and categorize the bacteria populations of individuals and to also gain more knowledge about which species of gut bacteria may determine whether or not a person is at risk of developing MS and as to whether or not certain species protect people from developing MS.